Leadership Development

Developing the leaders of the future at a global automotive firm

A global automotive business held an ambition to lead a transport revolution focused on zero emissions and congestion, and lower crash rates. The idea was to create a safer, better and greener world within which to operate, in response to modern-day consumer expectations.

To get there, they needed their leaders at all levels to contribute towards creating the right sort of environment. The best environment would be one that nurtured talented people to reach their potential, made staff feel valued, and encouraged contribution from all levels. It would support the development of exciting new products.

Having lost many leaders due to retirement and a global rationalisation programme, the company now needed to identify potential leaders and develop new leadership capabilities within the business. That’s where we could help.

Having successfully delivered HR support and projects for them in the past, the automotive brand turned to us to review its talent management strategy and create a high-potential leadership pipeline across the UK and Europe. The goal was to boost resilience, create a succession plan to future-proof the business, and get it ready for the tough commercial challenges that lay ahead.

How we did it

We began by engaging with senior stakeholders to reaffirm the organisation’s goals and ethos. In line with these, our proposed approach would support its talent to push the limits of innovation.

The first step was to identify what leadership capabilities would be necessary to implement the business strategy. To do this, we held interviews internally with colleagues, and externally with industry figures and academics. This helped us to define the competencies required to be a great leader within the business and across the industry.

By reviewing these competencies in a number of stakeholder workshops, we then built a skills, competencies and behavioural matrix, and created leadership models for the business.

These became the basis for a series of development centres, at which we measured existing leaders’ skills, their leadership potential and any development gaps. We ran, managed and reported on 100 development centres over eight months, assessing people for skills such as:

  • The ability to lead transformational change,
  • Problem solving and decision-making using analytics and data, and
  • How person-centred, empathic and collaborative they were.

This meant we could look at how individual leaders would need to be supported to achieve their potential, through assignments, projects, coaching, training or mentoring. It also led us to a strong talent pipeline of future leaders.

“Great leadership drives business strategy, change and innovation, whereas poor leadership can negatively impact business decision making, trust and employee engagement.”

The result

Through our work, we established the skills, competencies and behaviours that effective leaders within this organisation needed to demonstrate. We were then able to successfully identify and develop an 800-strong leadership cohort and pipeline of high-potential future leaders.

This has helped the business to make succession plans and has made it a more resilient organisation. Its leaders are now in the best mindset to create the right environment in which to realise the business strategy.